Namibia: First Namibian Soapie to Be Made

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Optimedia, a local film company, has been selected by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) through its television commissioning system for the production of a local 26-part soapie, Art/Life has exclusively learned. It was apparently a very close call between Optimedia and two other local film companies, Clevercloggs and Homebrewed Productions.

The soapie, to be known as The Ties That Bind, will be the first-ever proper television series to be done by the national broadcaster after it widely advertised earlier this year for submissions from the local film industry. "It will be a typical Namibian story in which two families prominently feature in their daily lives and escapades, with a black and white sub-story on racism in present-dayNamibia," the owner of Optimedia and producer of the series, Abius Akwaake, revealed last week.

It is understood that the production contract will exceed N$ 2.3 million at an alleged production fee of N$90,000 (US$13,154) per episode.

It is understood that American film director, Charles Burnett, responsible for the feature movie 'Where Others Wavered' showing tonight at the Los Angeles International Film Festival, and the creator of the very popular South African soapie 'Generations', Mfundi Vundla, assisted the NBC in its quest for a suitable and quality local series. When asked whether his involvement in the making of 'Where Others Wavered' has anything to do with his company getting the contract from NBC, Akwaake vehemently denied this.

Feme Oke is an experienced film and television Nigerian writer who works for Optimedia. He had also been the script doctor of the initial script efforts of 'Where Others Wavered' for PACON. "Due to some delays in the signing of the contract with NBC and other technical issues that need to be resolved, shooting on the series will probably start much later than the anticipated starting time of September this year.”

(New Era (Windhoek), 29 June 2007)